On This Day in History December 26

December 26 – Events:

  • 1481 – Battle of Westbrook – Holland defeats troops of Utrecht.
  • 1492 – First Spanish settlement in New World founded by Columbus.
  • 1620 – Elizabeth Báthory’s crimes are uncovered.
  • 1620 – Pilgrim Fathers land at what becomes New Plymouth in Massachusetts.
  • 1776 – American Revolutionary War: The British are defeated in the Battle of Trenton.
  • 1790 – Louis XVI of France gives his public assent to Civil Constitution of the Clergy during the French Revolution.
  • 1792 – The final trial of Louis XVI of France begins in Paris.
  • 1793 – Battle of Geisberg: French defeat Austrians.
  • 1793 – The wedding of Prince Friedrich Ludwig of Prussia and Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz takes place.
  • 1805 – Austria and France sign the Treaty of Pressburg.
  • 1806 – Battles of Pultusk and Golymin: Russian forces hold French forces under Napoleon.
  • 1811 – A theater fire in Richmond, Virginia kills the Governor of Virginia George William Smith and the president of the First National Bank of Virginia Abraham B. Venable.
  • 1825 – Several Imperial Russia army officers lead circa 3000 soldiers on the Senate Square in the failed Decembrist uprising.
  • 1825 – Erie Canal opens.
  • 1848 – The Phi Delta Theta fraternity is founded at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
  • 1860 – The first ever inter-club football match takes place between Hallam F.C. and Sheffield F.C. at the Sandygate Road ground in Sheffield, England.
  • 1861 – American Civil War: The Trent Affair: Confederate diplomatic envoys James M. Mason and John Slidell are freed by the United States government, thus heading off a possible war between the United States and Britain.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Chickasaw Bayou begins.
  • 1862 – Four nuns serving as volunteer nurses on board USS Red Rover are the first female nurses on a U.S. Navy hospital ship.
  • 1862 – The largest mass-hanging in U.S. history took place in Mankato, Minnesota, killing 39.
  • 1865 – James H. Mason patents first US coffee percolator.
  • 1870 – The 12.8-km long Fréjus Rail Tunnel through the Alps is completed.
  • 1871 – Gilbert and Sullivan collaborate for the first time, on their lost opera, Thespis. It does modestly well, but the two would not collaborate again for four years.
  • 1883 – The Harbour Grace Affray between Irish Catholics and Protestant Orangemen causes five deaths in Newfoundland.
  • 1898 – Marie and Pierre Curie announce the isolation of radium.
  • 1916 – Joseph Joffre is made Marshal of France.
  • 1919 – Yankees and Red Sox reach agreement on trade of Babe Ruth.
  • 1925 – The Communist Party of India is founded.
  • 1925 – Turkey adopts the Gregorian Calendar.
  • 1932 – Earthquake kills 70,000 in Kansu, China.
  • 1933 – The Nissan Motor Company is organized in Tokyo, Japan.
  • 1933 – FM radio is patented.
  • 1943 – World War II: The German warship Scharnhorst sinks off the coast of North Cape in Norway after being attacked by the Royal Navy late the previous evening.
  • 1944 – World War II: U.S. troops repulse German forces at Bastogne.
  • 1945 – CFP franc and CFA franc are created.
  • 1946 – Flamingo Hotel opens in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • 1948 – Cardinal Mindszenty is arrested in Hungary and accused of treason and conspiracy.
  • 1966 – The first Kwanzaa is celebrated by Maulana Karenga, the chair of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach.
  • 1973 – Comet Kohoutek reaches perihelion but is not as spectacular a display as expected.
  • 1973 – Soyuz 13 lands on earth after a week in orbit.
  • 1974 – Salyut 4 is launched.
  • 1975 – The Tupolev Tu-144 goes into service in Soviet Union.
  • 1976 – The Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist) is founded.
  • 1979 – Soviet Special forces take over presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • 1979 – Opening night of the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea at the Hammersmith Odeon; a benefit concert for the citizens of Cambodia who were victims of dictator Pol Pot.
  • 1980 – Aeroflot puts the Ilyushin Il-86 into service.
  • 1982 – Time Magazine’s Man of the Year is for the first time a non-human, the personal computer.
  • 1986 – The first long-running American television soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, airs its final episode after thirty-five years on the air.
  • 1988 – The Nanjing Anti-African protests in Nanjing, the People’s Republic of China begin.
  • 1990 – Garry Kasparov beats Antatoly Karpov to retain world chess championship.
  • 1991 – The Supreme Soviet meets and formally dissolves the USSR.
  • 1996 – Start of the largest strike in South Korean history.
  • 1996 – The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification goes into force.
  • 1996 – Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey is found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado.
  • 1997 – The Soufriere Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat explodes, creating a small tsunami offshore.
  • 1998 – Iraq announces its intention to fire upon U.S. and British warplanes that patrol the northern and southern no-fly zones.
  • 1998 – Severe gales over Ireland, northern England, and southern Scotland cause widespread disruption and widespread power outages in Northern Ireland and southern Scotland.
  • 1999 – Severe weather in France kills over 100 people and causes extensive damage to property, trees and the French national power grid.
  • 2003 – A strong magnitude 6.6 earthquake devastates southeast Iranian city of Bam, killing tens of thousands and destroying the citadel of Arg-é Bam.
  • 2004 – An earthquake measuring 9.3 on the Richter magnitude scale creates a tsunami causing devastation in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives and many other areas around the rim of the Indian Ocean, killing more than 300,000.
  • 2005 – Boxing Day shooting on a busy shopping street in Toronto.
  • 2006 – The 2006 Hengchun earthquake with 7.1 magnitude hits Taiwan.

December 26 – Birthdays:

  • 1194 – Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1250)
  • 1532 – Guilielmus Xylander, German classical scholar (d. 1576)
  • 1536 – Yi I, Korean Confucian scholar (d. 1584)
  • 1542 – Tokugawa Ieyasu, unifier of Japan and first Tokugawa Shogun (d. 1616)
  • 1646 – Robert Bolling, English settler in Virginia (d. 1709)
  • 1666 – Guru Gobind Singh, Tenth Guru of Sikhism (d. 1708)
  • 1687 – Johann Georg Pisendel, German musician (d. 1755)
  • 1716 – Thomas Gray, English writer (d. 1771)
  • 1716 – Jean François de Saint-Lambert, French poet (d. 1803)
  • 1723 – Friedrich Melchior, baron von Grimm, German writer (d. 1807)
  • 1737 – Prince Josias of Coburg, Austrian general (d. 1815)
  • 1751 – Clement Hofbauer, Austrian missionary and saint (d. 1820)
  • 1771 – Julie Clary, queen consort of Naples (d. 1845)
  • 1780 – Mary Fairfax Somerville, British mathematician (d. 1872)
  • 1782 – Filaret Drozdov, Metropolitan of Moscow (d. 1867)
  • 1791 – Charles Babbage, English mathematician and inventor (d. 1871)
  • 1819 – E. D. E. N. Southworth, American novelist (d. 1899)
  • 1822 – Dion Boucicault, Irish actor and playwright (d. 1890)
  • 1837 – George Dewey, U. S. admiral (d. 1917)
  • 1853 – René Bazin, French novelist (d. 1932)
  • 1859 – William Stephens, U.S. political figure (d. 1944)
  • 1872 – Norman Angell, British politician, Nobel laureate (d. 1967)
  • 1873 – Thomas Wass, English cricketer (d. 1953)
  • 1883 – Maurice Utrillo, French artist (d. 1955)
  • 1887 – Arthur Ernest Percival, British Army officer (d. 1966)
  • 1890 – Uncle Charlie Osborne, American fiddler (d. 1992)
  • 1891 – Henry Miller, American writer (d. 1980)
  • 1893 – Mao Zedong, Chinese military leader and politician (d. 1976)
  • 1894 – Jean Toomer, American writer (d. 1967)
  • 1902 – Anatoli Lvovich Kaplan, Russian painter (d. 1980)
  • 1903 – Elisha Cook Jr., American actor (d. 1995)
  • 1904 – Alejo Carpentier, Cuban writer (d. 1980)
  • 1906 – Imperio Argentina, Argentine actress and singer (d. 2003)
  • 1913 – Frank Swift, English footballer and journalist (d. 1958)
  • 1914 – Richard Widmark, American actor
  • 1914 – Annemarie Wendl, German actress (d. 2006)
  • 1918 – George Rallis, Greek politician, Prime Minister of Greece (d. 2006)
  • 1921 – Steve Allen, American comedian (d. 2000)
  • 1922 – Richard Mayes, English actor (d. 2006)
  • 1924 – Frank Broyles, American athlete, long time athletic director of the University of Arkansas.
  • 1927 – Alan King, American comedian (d. 2004)
  • 1927 – Denis Quilley, British actor (d. 2003)
  • 1927 – Stu Miller, baseball player
  • 1929 – Régine, French singer and nightclub owner
  • 1930 – Donald Moffat, English-born actor
  • 1930 – Jean Ferrat, French singer and songwriter
  • 1933 – Ugly Dave Gray, Australian television personality
  • 1933 – Caroll Spinney, American puppeteer
  • 1935 – Abdul “Duke” Fakir, American singer (The Four Tops)
  • 1935 – Norm Ullman, Canadian hockey player
  • 1937 – John Horton Conway, British mathematician
  • 1937 – Jay Heimowitz, American poker player
  • 1938 – Bahram Beizai, Iranian playwright and film director
  • 1938 – Alamgir Kabir, Bangladeshi film director (d. 1989)
  • 1939 – Fred Schepisi, Australian film director
  • 1940 – Edward C. Prescott, American economist, Nobel laureate
  • 1940 – Phil Spector, American music producer and convicted murderer
  • 1940 – Ray Sadecki, Major league baseball pitcher
  • 1941 – Daniel Schmid, Swiss film director (d. 2006)
  • 1942 – Marco Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo, Guatemalan president
  • 1942 – Gray Davis, former Governor of California
  • 1944 – Jane Lapotaire, British actress
  • 1945 – John Walsh, American talk show host
  • 1947 – Carlton Fisk, American baseball player
  • 1947 – James T. Conway, 34th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
  • 1948 – Candy Crowley, American journalist
  • 1949 – José Ramos-Horta, President of East Timor, Nobel laureate
  • 1951 – Richard Skinner, British radio presenter
  • 1953 – Henning Schmitz, German musician (Kraftwerk)
  • 1953 – Leonel Fernández, Dominican politician and current President of the Dominican Republic
  • 1954 – Ozzie Smith, American baseball player
  • 1954 – Steve Steen, English actor
  • 1955 – Evan Bayh, American politician
  • 1956 – David Sedaris, American essayist
  • 1957 – Dermot Murnaghan, British broadcaster
  • 1958 – Adrian Newey, British engineer
  • 1959 – Koji Morimoto, Japanese animated film director
  • 1960 – Temuera Morrison, New Zealand actor
  • 1961 – John Lynch, Irish actor
  • 1963 – Lars Ulrich, Danish-born drummer (Metallica)
  • 1964 – Elizabeth Kostova, American author
  • 1966 – Sandra Taylor, American model and actress
  • 1968 – Dennis Knight, American professional wrestler
  • 1970 – James Mercer, musician (The Shins)
  • 1970 – Krissada Terrence, Thai singer and actor
  • 1971 – Jared Leto, American actor and singer (30 Seconds to Mars)
  • 1971 – Jonathan M. Parisen, American film director
  • 1971 – Mika Nurmela, Finnish footballer
  • 1972 – Esteban Fuertes, Argentine footballer
  • 1972 – Robert Muchamore, Children’s Author
  • 1973 – Reichen Lehmkuhl, American television personality
  • 1974 – Josie Ho, Hong Kong singer and actor
  • 1974 – Joshua John Miller, American actor
  • 1975 – Marcelo Ríos, Chilean tennis player
  • 1976 – Lea De Mae, Czech actress (d. 2004)
  • 1978 – Kaoru Sugayama, Japanese volleyball player
  • 1979 – Chris Daughtry, American singer
  • 1979 – Fabián Carini, Uruguayan footballer
  • 1979 – Mzbel, Ghanaian singer
  • 1979 – Dimitry Vassiliev, Russian ski jumper
  • 1980 – Todd Dunivant, American soccer player
  • 1982 – Kenneth Darby, National Football League player
  • 1982 – Oguri Shun, Japanese Actor/Model
  • 1984 – Alex Schwazer, Italian race walker
  • 1985 – Yuu Shirota, Japanese Idol
  • 1987 – Adam Walker, British flautist
  • 1990 – Aaron Ramsey, Welsh footballer

December 26 – Deaths:

  • 268 – Pope Dionysius
  • 418 – Pope Zosimus
  • 1350 – Jean de Marigny, French bishop
  • 1458 – Arthur III, Duke of Brittany (b. 1393)
  • 1476 – Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan (b. 1444)
  • 1530 – Babur, Emperor of the Mogul empire (b. 1483)
  • 1574 – Charles of Guise, French cardinal (b. 1524)
  • 1624 – Simon Marius, German astronomer (b. 1573)
  • 1731 – Antoine Houdar de la Motte, French writer (b. 1672)
  • 1771 – Claude Adrien Helvétius, French philosopher (b. 1715)
  • 1780 – John Fothergill, English physician (b. 1712)
  • 1784 – Seth Warner, American revolutionary leader (b. 1743)
  • 1786 – Gasparo Gozzi, Italian critic and dramatist (b. 1713)
  • 1869 – Jean Louis Marie Poiseuille, French physiologist (b. 1797)
  • 1890 – Heinrich Schliemann, German archaeologist (b. 1822)
  • 1909 – Frederic Remington, American artist (b. 1861)
  • 1931 – Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey decimal classification (b. 1851)
  • 1933 – Anatoly Lunacharsky, Russian literary critic and politician (b. 1875)
  • 1957 – Charles Pathé, French film and recording industries pioneer (b. 1863)
  • 1960 – Watsuji Tetsuro, Japanese philosopher (b. 1889)
  • 1963 – George Wagner (Gorgeous George), American professional wrestler and television personality (b. 1915)
  • 1970 – Lillian Board, British athlete (b. 1948)
  • 1972 – Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States (b. 1884)
  • 1973 – Harold B. Lee, 11th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (b. 1899)
  • 1974 – Jack Benny, American comedian (b. 1894)
  • 1977 – Howard Hawks, American film director and writer (b. 1896)
  • 1980 – Tony Smith, American sculptor (b. 1912)
  • 1981 – Savithri, Indian actress (b. 1937)
  • 1981 – Amber Reeves, feminist writer (b. 1887)
  • 1983 – Violet Carson, British actress (b. 1898)
  • 1985 – Dian Fossey, American gorilla specialist (b. 1932)
  • 1985 – Harold P. Warren, American movie director (d. 1928)
  • 1986 – Elsa Lanchester, British-born actress (b. 1902)
  • 1988 – Glenn McCarthy, American oil tycoon and businessman (b. 1907)
  • 1989 – Doug Harvey, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1924)
  • 1992 – Nikita Magaloff, Russian pianist (b. 1912)
  • 1996 – JonBenet Ramsey, noted murder victim (b. 1990)
  • 1997 – Cornelius Castoriadis, Greek philosopher and economist (b. 1922)
  • 1999 – Curtis Mayfield, American musician (b. 1942)
  • 1999 – Shankar Dayal Sharma, President of India (b. 1918)
  • 2000 – Jason Robards, American actor (b. 1922)
  • 2001 – Nigel Hawthorne, English actor (b. 1929)
  • 2002 – Herb Ritts, American photographer (b. 1952)
  • 2002 – Armand Zildjian, American cymbal manufacturer (b. 1921)
  • 2004 – Sir Angus Ogilvy, British businessman, husband of Princess Alexandra of Kent (b. 1928)
  • 2004 – Marianne Heiberg, Norwegian mediator (b. 1945)
  • 2004 – Jonathan Drummond-Webb, South African pediatric heart surgeon (b. 1959)
  • 2004 – Sigurd Køhn, Norwegian jazz musician, in 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake (b. 1959)
  • 2004 – Reggie White, American football player (b. 1961)
  • 2004 – Aki Sirkesalo, Finnish musician, in 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake (b. 1962)
  • 2004 – Mieszko Talarczyk, Lead singer/Guitarist of grindcore band, Nasum, in 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake (b. 1974)
  • 2004 – Troy Broadbridge, Australian rules footballer, in 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake (b. 1980)
  • 2005 – Erich Topp, German submarine commander (b. 1914)
  • 2005 – Muriel Costa-Greenspon, American mezzo-soprano (b. 1937)
  • 2005 – Kerry Packer, Australian businessman (b. 1937)
  • 2005 – Vincent Schiavelli, American actor (b. 1948)
  • 2006 – Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States (b. 1913)
  • 2006 – Ivar Formo, Norwegian skier (b. 1951)
  • 2007 – John A. Garraty, 87, American biographer (b. 1920)
  • 2007 – Stu Nahan, American Sportscaster (b. 1926)
  • 2007 – Joe Dolan, 64, Irish singer and entertainer (b. 1943)

December 26 – Holidays:

  • St. Stephen’s Day, a public holiday in Alsace, Austria, Catalonia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Ireland.
  • Synaxis of Theotokos and feast of St. Joseph,King and Prophet David and St. James the Just (Orthodox Christianity).
  • The first of the twelve days of Christmas in Western Christianity.
  • Boxing Day in the Commonwealth of Nations except when 26 December is a Sunday.  Boxing Day is transferred to 27 December by Royal Proclamation.
  • Wren day in Ireland and the Isle of Man.
  • Australia – Proclamation Day (South Australian public holiday), for the foundation of the Australian state of South Australia on December 28, 1836 but commemorated on this day.
  • South Africa – Day of Goodwill, a public holiday.
  • First day of Kwanzaa.
  • Abadiu of Antinoe is commemorated in the Coptic Church on this date.
  • First day of Junkanoo street parade in the Bahamas (the second day is on the New Year’s Day).
  • In Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, Poland, Slovakia, and Sweden, the 26th is known as the Second day of Christmas. In some of these countries it is also a public holiday.
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